South Korea is one of the major economies within Asia with a considerable amount of security issues, which calls for a firm security posture. To combat the challenge posed by a nuclear threat from North Korea, the need to replace obsolete military equipment, and a growing necessity for restructuring and modernization of the military, South Korea has introduced the Defense Reform Plan 2020 (DRP 2020) with the aim of transforming the military into a smaller but more capable force. South Korea maintained a reasonably constant defense budget in relation to growing GDP and defense expenditure during 2014–2018 grew at a CAGR of 5.72%. According to research report “Future of the South Korean Defense Industry – Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2023”, Defense expenditure during 2019-2023 is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.90%, reaching US$48.5 billion in 2023. The reduction in military personnel, acquisition of new technology, and a reduction in the reliance of imports are other factors that impact the dynamics of South Korea’s defense expenditure.
The country is expected to focus on developing capabilities to develop new weapon systems, with specific emphasis being given to projects such as laser weapons, unmanned ground vehicles, and unmanned surveillance vehicles, among others. The country is also expected to invest in developing dedicated infrastructure for testing defense equipment and other hi-tech weapon systems. South Korea aims to increase the efficiency of its defense industrial complex by means of encouraging robust cooperation with the country’s commercial sector in addition to enhancing technology transfer (spin-offs) from the military to the country’s private industries and vice versa to achieve a level of synergy between the two sectors. South Korea also plans to provide financial assistance for organizing various market exploration activities such as defense exhibitions. Moreover, it plans on extending support for increasing the country’s defense exports.
South Korean homeland security (HLS) expenditure is expected to grow consistently during the forecast period. The cyber and defense threat from North Korea and China accentuate the need for the procurement of sophisticated security technology with the coordination of IT and reinstates the increasing demand for cloud-based security solutions.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications